Luxembourg PM Skips Israeli Envoy's Ceremony Over Minister's Gay Conversion Remarks

Xavier Bettel, who is openly gay, says he cannot support an ambassador representing a government with a senior member supporting 'conversion therapy'

Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel speaks to the press as he arrives for a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, July 2, 2019.

Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was absent from Israeli Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg Simona Frenkel's goodbye ceremony, following Education Minister Rafi Peretz's remarks supporting gay conversion therapy, Yaron Avraham of Channel 12 News reported on Monday.

Peretz said in an interview aired Saturday that it is "possible" to perform so-called conversion therapy, claiming he has done so in the past.

Speaking to Dana Weiss on Channel 12 News, Peretz, of the Union of Right-Wing Parties, was asked if he believed that people "who have such a tendency can be converted."

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"I think it's possible," Peretz replied. "I can tell you I have a very deep knowledge of education and I did it."

When asked how he advised a student who told him about their sexual inclinations Peretz said: "First of all, I hugged them and said very warm things, let's think, learn and look at it."

Bettel told Frenkel that as an openly gay man, he cannot back an envoy of a government in which a senior minister supports conversion therapy.

The Israeli Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the incident, however sources involved in the matter who spoke with Haaretz confirmed it.